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Pakistan - SL friendship firmly stands on pillars of mutual trust

Mar 23 (GDI) The Acting High Commissioner of Pakistan in Sri Lanka, Dr. Sarfraz Ahmed Khan Sipra said that the brotherly and time tested relationship between Pakistan and Sri Lanka are firmly standing on the pillars of mutual trust, respect and desire to promote friendship. The Acting High Commissioner said this while delivering his message on the occasion of the National Day of Pakistan today. more..

HNB mulls Myanmar foray as Sri Lanka profit margins squeezed

Mar 23 (BN) Hatton National Bank, Sri Lanka’s second-biggest privately owned lender by assets, is looking to invest and lend in Southeast Asia’s developing economies as record-low interest rates at home squeeze spreads. “The region of Cambodia and Myanmar are presenting opportunities,” for lending to small and medium enterprises and microfinance, Chief Executive Officer Jonathan Alles said in an interview. more..

Unpractical Excise law runs into storm

Mar 23 (ST) The move by President Maithripala Sirisena to close down 349 liquor outlets that have violated the stipulated operational regulations has run into a storm with Excise Department officials saying that it was not practical and towards this end they have sought the advice of the Attorney General. Senior officials who could not be named said that they had also sought an urgent meeting with the President to discuss the matter further more..

Sri Lanka Tourism focus on Scandinavia

Mar 23 (GDI) The leadership of the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotions Bureau has re looked its overall portfolio of markets and has strategically selected one of the key focus areas globally - Scandinavian countries to focus market Sri Lanka as a destination for travel in the future. A high-powered Sri Lankan delegation took part at last week’s key travel and tourism exhibition at Gothenburg in Sweden-TUR to carefully more..

Alleged abduction: Police end probe

Mar 23 (SL) The police said that they had conducted the necessary investigations into the complaint lodged by the parents of a girl saying that their daughter had been allegedly abducted by the youngest son of Minister Rajitha Senaratne. ASP Ruwan Gunasekara said that at the time of the complaint they had conducted the necessary investigations but they closed the investigation as the case could not be considered as a crime more..

Protest against domestic probe

Mar 23 (CG) A demonstration was staged in the North and East today against the proposed domestic investigation on human rights abuses alleged to have taken place during the war. The TNPF led by Gajen Ponnambalam, which is supporting the protest, said that the demonstration took place in eight districts in the North and East. Over 100 people, including families of those reported missing during the war, took part in more..

Sri Lanka's new leader heads to China after winding back ties

Mar 23 (AFP) Sri Lanka's new president heads to Beijing this week for talks with China's leadership, seeking to smooth ruffled feathers after scuttling Chinese-funded projects and seeking stronger ties with regional rival India. Maithripala Sirisena swept to power in January, ending a decade of rule by Mahinda Rajapakse, whose close alliance with Beijing had irked the island's traditional close ally India. more..

'Sri Lanka trying to create stability without authoritarianism'

Mar 23 (EN) Sri Lanka's new govt is trying to create political stability without becoming authoritarian as other successful economies like Singapore did, Deputy Minister of Policy Planning and Economic Affairs Harsha De Silva said. The latest expansion in the Cabinet of Ministers that brought in members from the main opposition party should help create the required stability that will yield consistent economic policies, he said. more..

JVP to decide on remaining in NEC

Mar 23 (AM) JVP General Secretary Tilvin Silva told Asian Mirror that the party will come to a decision on Monday whether it will remain as a member of National Executive Council. This development came after the formation of a national govt yesterday. “The manner in which the national government was formed cannot be accepted. Appointing those accused of various mal-practices as ministers is also wrong.” Silva said. more..

The emasculating Constitution

Mar 23 (CT) The country is placed on a 100-Day pledge by the incumbent Sirisena Govt. Govt is a minority entity in Parliament as the majority sits in the Opposition. This could be the first time that such a govt has been in existence since independence. The architect of the 1978 Constitution, late President J.R. Jayewardene said the only thing he could not do under his Constitution was to make man a woman and woman a man. He too would never have dreamt that his system could more..

Who owns controversial property opposite WTC?

Mar 23 (AD) Urban Development Authority (UDA) says that the property at Echelon Square in Colombo Fort, opposite the World Trade Center, which sparked controversy recently over an ownership dispute, does not belong to the Capital Maharaja Organisation Limited. UDA Chairman Ranjith Fernanado stated that ownership of the property in question had caused a controversy, however, pointed out that UDA has not accepted that the property belongs to private company. more..

Daily Mirror Cartoon

National Govt: Presidential Election betrayed

Mar 23 (CT) Spinoza once said, “those who laugh last, laugh best”. People who voted to defeat Mahinda Rajapaksa regime out of power on January 8 might have celebrated their victory. However, even before passing magical 100 days, many of them may be thinking the change is just a chimera. New Ministers, State Ministers and Deputy Minister were sworn in making the size of the cabinet of ministers to 44. If you add the number of state minsters and deputy ministers the total number may be more..

GMOA to flex muscles tomorrow as warning

Mar 23 (Island) GMOA General Committee yesterday unanimously decided to launch a four-hour token warning strike commencing March 24 from 8 am to 12 noon by way of a warning to the govt. GMOA Assistant Secretary Dr. Nalinda Herath said that 101 his organisation was of the view that Minister Ravi Karunanayaka had been purposefully creating unnecessary problems for Health Minister Dr Rajitha Senaratne, President Sirisena and Health Secretary Dr R.M.D.B. Dissanayaka. more..

Sri Lanka foreign reserves at US$7.2bn

Mar 23 (EN) Sri Lanka's foreign reserves were now at US$ 7.2 billion, Minister Ravi Karunanayake said. His comments came after PM Ranil Wickremesinghe told parliament on March 17, that foreign reserves were US$ 6,175.3 million on March 13, which is sharply down from figures reported earlier. Official reserves were US$ 7,428 billion on Feb 28, which was up from January total of US$ 7,252 million. more..

Rights defenders seek freedom

Mar 23 (CG) Human rights defenders in Sri Lanka are demanding freedom and lifting of restrictions on some activists, imposed by the former Govt. A statement signed by several human rights defenders, activists and organisations, noted that the 21st March 2015 marks one year since a court order restricting the freedom of expression on leading Sri Lankan human rights defender and writer, Ruki Fernando was obtained by the Terrorist Investigation Department (TID). more..

Stocks end down, Access falls 5%

Mar 23 (EN) tocks ended weaker Monday in thin trade with Access Engineering falling further after it lost a big contract to repair the international airport's runway, brokers said. All Share Price Index closed at 7,042.30, down 12.28 points (0.17%) while the S&P SL 20 index, ended at 4,002.77, down 14.13 points (0.35%). Turnover was a low of 395 million rupees with only a single crossing or off-the-floor negotiated deal of 250,000 shares of John Keells Holdings at 206.50. more..

'National Govt: SLFP the only loser'

Mar 23 (AD) Leader of the PHU, Udaya Gammanpila, says that there is a risk of TNA being offered the position for Opposition Leader. If that happens the ideals of the TNA would receive wider acceptance within the international community, he said. On the other hand if the TNA does not receive the Opposition Leader post it could spread the word intentionally that the reasons for that was because they are Tamils. more..

Anura Yapa says SLFP considered two factors in entering National Govt

Mar 23 (AM) SLFP General Secretary Anura Priyadarshana Yapa stated that the decision to enter into a national govt was taken after considering two factors. Yapa said that these key factors are the constitutional amendments and electoral reforms. SLFP members of parliament came to an agreement on this. In addition, the Central Committee also agreed on this. An agreement has been reached on eight key points in the constitutional amendments. SLFP also contributed to these amendments, more..

Several media giants to contest next general election

Mar 23 (AM) It has now come to the lime light that few media giants will compete for the next parliamentary election representing several political parties. According to reports, Raynor Silva, brother of UPFA MP Duminda Silva, will compete from Gampaha district under the UNP ticket. Duminda Silva also entered competitive politics through UNP. Moreover, former Sirasa FM Channel Head S.M. Marikkar is expected to contest general election under the UNP ticket. more..

'SLFP given portfolios to cover up CB scandal'

Mar 23 (DM) The appointment of SLFP MPs as Ministers was an attempt to cover up the wrongdoings of the govt led by the UNP, especially the Central Bank Bond Sale issue, MP Dinesh Gunawardane charged today. He said the bond sale issue was one of the largest corrupt deals that had taken place in the country and also in the history of the Central Bank. “SLFP MPs who went to the Bribery Commission against more..

Rameswaram fishermen launch indefinite strike

Mar 23 (TOI) Fishermen in Rameswaram launched an indefinite strike on Monday demanding the release of 54 fishers who were apprehended by the SL navy on Saturday night. More than 700 boats that operate from Rameswaram fishing jetty didn't go for fishing on Monday morning. Strike will affect 5,000 fishermen and their families. Meanwhile, a 5-member team of fishermen leaders from Rameswaram reached Chennai on Monday morning along with their counterparts from Pudukottai more..

'General elections will take place'

Mar 23 (CG) The Govt says General Elections will be held after April 23 despite the formation of a National unity Government. Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake said that the reason the Government needed the support of more SLFP members was to ensure it received 2/3rd majority in Parliament to pass key reforms proposals. Several SLFP members were named cabinet and State Ministers as well as Deputy Ministers yesterday by President Maithripala Sirisena. more..

President assures Jaffna Tamils

Mar 23 (CG) President Maithripala Sirisena today assured Tamils in the North that the land issue will be resolved and the land used as High Security Zones returned to its rightful owners. Speaking in Jaffna the President said that every measure will be taken to resolve issues faced by people irrespective of their race or religion. President said that as a new Govt, many steps have already been taken to resolve problems more..

Sri Lanka in World Cup 2015: Marks out of 10

Mar 23 (CC) Last tournament for Mahela and Sangakkara, a strong ODI unit coming off few impressive series wins but things did not quite fall in place for them in the World Cup 2015. They were dicey to start, dangerous in the middle but fell apart in the quarter-final and both the legends had to bow out after an embarrassing display with the bat. Sri Lanka had a lot to deal with though, their bowling remained their weakness but Sangakkara reached new levels of excellence, more..

Sarana Gunawardena further remanded

Mar 23 (AM) Former deputy minister Sarana Gunawardena was further remanded till March 30 by Attanagalle Magistrate Courts. Attanagalle Magistrate gave this order when he was produced before the courts on Monday. Gunawardena was summoned to the CID office on March 12 to record a statement where he was later arrested over charges of criminal breach of trust. He was produced before the Attanagalla Magistrate on the same day, who ordered him be remanded until March 23. more..

I will be Opposition Leader: Nimal

Mar 23 (AM) MP Nimal Siripala de Silva today said he would continue to remain the Opposition Leader despite the unique situation emerged in Parliament following the formation of the National Unity Government and added that the government’s 100-day programme may be extend into even 200-days depending on the pace with which, the promised amendments to the Constitution and the electoral reforms would be implemented. more..

England women’s cricketers set for Sri Lanka

Mar 23 (ECB) Twelve players from across the England women’s cricket pathway will travel to Sri Lanka next month to take part in an intensive twelve-day batting and spin bowling development camp in Colombo. England women’s vice-captain Heather Knight (Berkshire) is one of eight players included in the group who is currently part of the full England Women’s Performance Squad (EWPS). Having enjoyed a successful conversion to bowling off-spin over the last 18 months, more..

'SL may not dissolve parliament in April 2015'

Mar 23 (LBO) SLFP chief organizer, John Seneviratne told LBO that the country has a higher chance of not going for an election in April 2015. “The president might not go for an election,” he said. “We have not agreed on an election as a party.” Sri Lanka held its Presidential election in January this year which brought a regime change. The new govt, who are following a 100 day strategy has formed a national govt with 26 members from the opposition SLFP. more..

Sri Lanka a model for others says UN

Mar 23 (CG) The UN says Sri Lanka has served as an important model for other countries in terms of demonstrating the importance of policies such as free-education and free-health for promoting human development. Subinay Nandy, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in SL said that Sri Lanka’s recent renewed emphasis on upholding human rights and the rule of law, whilst addressing more..

New regulations for the SLTB and private passenger bus services

Mar 23 (SLBC) Ministry of Transport and National Transportation Commission are preparing a new regulatory mechanism for passenger transport of Sri Lanka Transport Board and Private Buses. A media briefing was held today, presided over by Secretary to the Ministry of Transport Dr. Lalithasiri Gunaruwan and Chairman of the National Transportation Commission Dr. D.S.Jayaweera they have pointed out that there should be a proper regulation on quality of passenger services more..

'Playing of race card backfired on last regime'

Mar 23 (Island) The former govt’s plan to spread racism in a bid to muster votes had backfired, Housing and Samurdhi Minister Sajith Premadasa said. Minister Premadasa, addressing a ceremony at Yakgasmulla Jumma mosque in Weeraketiya last week to donate a stock of cement for its development, said that former rulers alienated the minorities. "There were some cardboard Buddhists with full blessings of the government denouncing other faiths and spreading hate. more..

Wele Suda disputes case against him

Mar 23 (DM) Wela Suda, his wife and another accused contended before High Court Judge Devika Tennakoon De Livera today that the prosecution cannot maintain the money laundering case against them as the indictment was erroneous. Senior Counsel Anura Meddegoda defending Wele Suda’s wife submitted that the 57 indictments filed in the charge sheet were erroneous because the Penal Code by Section 174 and more..

PHU petitions Supreme Court on 19

Mar 23 (CT) Pivithuru Hela Urumaya (PHU) will be filing a petition, in the SC after 24 March, against the gazetted 19th Amendment Bill, seeking a Court order requiring the conducting of a referendum for the passage of the Bill into the statute. Manohara De Silva [PC] will appear on behalf of the petitioner, Western Province councillor, Udaya Gammanpila, who is the General Secretary of PHU. There is a concept called the Grundnorm, coined by legal theorist, Hans Kelsen. more..

Video: Vasu proposes Dinesh as Opp. Leader

Mar 23 (DM) UPFA MP Vasudeva Nanayakkara proposed MP Dinesh Gunawardane to be appointed as the Opposition Leader claiming it was unethical for the SLFP to hold both Cabinet Ministerial posts as well as the position of the Opposition Leader. He said National Govt formed yesterday was not a genuine National Govt but a coalition govt of UNP and SLFP. “When there are SLFP ministers, the incumbent Opposition leader will not be able to criticise ministers or the govt. more..

Video: JVP to decide on NEC membership

Mar 23 (DM) Leader of the JVP Anura Kumara Dissanayake said that they would make a decision whether to remain in the National Executive Committee (NEC) consequent to the formation of the National Govt. He said the number of Cabinet Ministers was more than the promise given during the Presidential Poll and that a decision was to be taken whether they could remain in the Executive Committee at this level. more..

Playing Devil’s game to exorcise the Devil

Mar 24 (CT) This time it is a different strategic manipulation. The master stroke of picking Maitripala Sirisena as Common Candidate had an air of ethical quality: given that Maitri had to risk his neck and given that the then President must be stopped in his damaging track it had been a kind of relief operation. This time, the ethical air has to be evoked with some difficulty and amidst immense controversy. Official sources urge that a National Govt has be formed with UNP and SLFP more..

There’s nothing national in this coalition

Mar 24 (CT) Whole country was taken by surprise, when President Sirisena inducted 11 Cabinet Ministers, 5 State and 10 Deputy Ministers from his own SLFP, into PM Ranil Wickremesinghe's govt. This apparently is another political manoeuvre for survival with State power and has nothing to do with the mandate given at the presidential elections. These 26 SLFP members of parliament represent the 5.8 million votes polled by Rajapaksa and was clearly against President Sirisena. more..

Cavity Free SL enters Guinness Records

Mar 24 (SO) A decade of promoting Lankan Smiles in its Sina Bo Wewa campaign launched in 2005, paid rich dividends for Uni Levers when it notched up another record in Guinness Book of World Records, on Friday. Campaign previously made a mark in the Guinness Book of World Records for holding the largest photographic exhibition of 100,000 Sri Lankan smiles in 2004. It also went on to win Brain Icon Award in 2005. more..

Editorial: A strange creature

Mar 24 (Island) The outcome of the Jan. 8 presidential election landed the then govt in the same predicament as Ritigala Jayasena, who, according to legend, literally lost his head in a fight with one of King Dutugemunu’s warrior giants, Gotimbara; he, however, got a new head—that of a bear, of all animals—thanks to some supernatural power. Jayasena was born again as Mahasona, or the great graveyard demon. The decapitated govt of Sri Lanka got an elephant’s head! more..